New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick says he will not accept the Medal of Freedom from US President Donald Trump this week. Reports stated that the US President was keen on awarding the Pats coach the nation's highest civilian honour, just days before his helm at the office ends. The decision comes days after the US Capitol breach, where five people died amidst the riots.
Belichick and Trump might be friends, with the Pats coach writing a letter in support of the US President in 2016. However, the 68-year-old wants nothing to do with the latest honour, and he revealed so in a statement on social media. Belichick wrote that he was honoured to be offered the opportunity to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He revealed that he was extremely flattered out of respect for what the honour represents and admiration for prior recipients. However, Belichick revealed that he has decided against accepting the medal, due to the tragic events of last week at the US Capitol.
Patriots’ HC Bill Belichick will not be traveling to Washington nor accepting the Presidential Medal of Freedom, he announced today. pic.twitter.com/uvLLigFlHU— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 12, 2021
Supporters of Donald Trump breached the US Capitol last week, over the certification of Joe Biden’s election victory. Bill Belichick, who has coached the New England Patriots for 21 years and has won six Super Bowls, said that "above all, I am an American citizen with great reverence for our nation's values, freedom and democracy". The 68-year-old said "conversations" and "actions" about "social justice, equality and human rights" earlier in the season were among the most rewarding in his career so far. Belichick’s 311 victories (regular season and playoffs combined) are third all-time, behind Don Shula (347) and Halas (324).
According to the White House, the medal is given to people who have made exceptional contributions to the security or national interests of America, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavours. Last week, another Trump ally, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., was also given the award while he also awarded the honour to golfers Annika Sorenstam and Gary Player one day after the riots on the Capitol last week. Trump has been a fan of Bill Belichick and had reappointed him to the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition. The US President also called the Patriots coach as a 'winner' and claimed that he would call him up for ideas if he had a military battle.